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Syrian government opens Quneitra dams that provide Jordan with water

Editing: Mohammad Alhaj |
TranslationEditor: Vera Halvorsen |
Translation: Maan Salti
Publication date: 2018/10/18 18:10

Quneitra - SMART

The Syrian government opens the dams that provide Jordan with water in the Quneitra governorate, Southern Syria, coinciding with the Syrian-Jordanian agreement to reopen the Nasib-Jaber border crossing.

On Thursday, a local source told SMART that the Syrian government security forces in charge of the Quneitra dams opened them this week, including the al-Moqriz Dam near the Jordanian border at full capacity. During the opening, the Syrian government forces prevented civilians from approaching the dams.

The source said that the al-Moqriz Dam provides thousands of acres of farmlands in Jordan with water. The water flows from the dam through the al-To'ayem Valley to the al-Adasiyah canal that runs through Jordanian territory.

The source, who preferred to remain anonymous, said that an unannounced agreement to open the dams was concluded between Syria and Jordan, in accordance with the 1987 agreement regarding the water regulation between the two countries in the al-Yarmouk River Basin.

The source added that opening the six Quneitra dams of al-Mantarah, Ruwayhinah, al-Hajjah, Kodanah, Ghadir al-Bustan and al-Moqriz threaten the dams' constructions and the agricultural crops that depend on the water.

The source also said that the Syrian government Military Security and Air Force Security seized control of all the dams after the al-Nusra Front (now known as the Hayat Tahrir al-Sham) has controlled the dams for years, regulalry opening them to provide Jordan with water.

The source added, "The Syrian government forces are also looking for weapons in the dams, especially in the Ghadis al-Bustan and Kodanah dams. The Syrian government forces believe that the al-Nusra Front has hid weapons and vehicles in the dams (…) None of the dams was affected by the military operations, but they have not been maintained in the past eight years."

The source estimated that the small dams in Qunietra stored about 95 percent of their capacity, while the big ones stored about 40 percent at the end of last winter.

The water level in the Quneitra governorate decreased by 90 percent at the end of 2017 due to water waste.

In September 2018, the Syrian government media said that the Quneitra dams have plenty of water to feed the dams of the nearby Daraa governorate.